Posts Tagged ‘Salty Talks’

Thursday, 21 December 2017

The night had been just below freezing.  I woke early to a white frosty world, poked my camera out the south cat door for an unscreened photo of frost on the grass…

…and went back to sleep for three more hours.  When I awoke, I suggested that we go do the post-frost clean up, in hope that finally the frost had put the gardens to sleep.

We began a few blocks east at

Mike’s garden,

which we have referred to till now as Mayor Mike’s garden.  He is retiring as mayor at the end of 2017.

The sun was bright, the air cold, and the ground just lightly frozen.

Pieris promising spring

pale pink hesperantha blooming on the west side

salmon pink hesperantha blooming on the north side

pulling spent hesperantha along the front path

Allan raked.

Anchorage Cottages

Some days back, we drove in and right back out of the Anchorage parking lot because I could see the chrysanthemums by the office were still blooming.  And today they were STILL blooming.

Chrysanths that will not quit.

Today, I showed Jody, the housekeeper, who also does some gardening, how to just cut them to the ground when and if they ever brown off (which they will…).  We are not going to keep returning to check on two chrysanthemums.  I also showed her that she could cut the Melianthus if we have a hard enough freeze to make it ugly.

Melianthus major in the center courtyard

frozen birdbath (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo: In early spring, we will cut back this sprawling plant even if it does not get frozen, just to shape it up.

Long Beach

My mind had been on the one big Geranium ‘Rozanne’ that I had left untrimmed.  Surely it would be frozen by now? But no.

Allan’s photos

Frost could make the California poppies ugly, too. At least they are small.

It has been so mild that the Rozannes we cut back early this year have put out rosettes of new leaves.

It got cut back anyway, because we are not going to keep checking on it through January and I don’t want to think about a potential blackened heap of frozen leaves later on.

An anemone was already blooming in Veterans Field.

Allan’s photo

a wreath in Veterans Field (Allan’s photo)

We did some cutting back in Fifth Street Park, of a pineapple sage, some Verbena bonariensis, and a bit of the sprawling Melianthus.

pulling some spent hesperantha flowers

as tidy as its going to get till at least late January

Once upon a time, the scrim of unclipped catmint along the front, above, would have greatly bothered me.  For some reason, this year I think it looks interesting against the dry flower heads of the Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’…or maybe it was just that my hands were so cold.

Primroses (cowslips) were already blooming under a street tree.

I can feel exactly how it will feel to go back to work in late January or early February, and the prospect feels ok.  My only problem is that I have gotten pretty much nowhere on my indoor winter projects.

We celebrated the true end of the work year with coffee, warmth, and Pink Poppy Bakery treats at Abbracci Coffee Bar.

Abbracci co-owner Tony

We and another regular customer each got to take home one of the Christmas centerpieces.. very nice, since we never got around to putting up a tree, and later the flowers can go in my wonderful compost bins.

Abbracci tree and centerpieces

Ilwaco Timberland Library

We had some books to pick up.

at the library entrance

deep shade behind the wall

In the library

As expected, I got quite a pile of books, despite my original staycation plan for re-reading books on my own bookshelves.  Maybe that will wait till sometime when I am homebound for one reason or another.

a new batch, and the previous batch is not done yet

We had brought home a bucket of Abbracci coffee grounds and enough clean compost to add a wheelbarrow’s worth to my bins.  As I chopped it into small pieces and turned some from one bin to another at dusk, I did not mind the cold at all.

I have a compost obsession.

All the work got erased from the work side of the board, as did “Call Accountant”.  I had found an email address for the accountant we want, so I emailed her on the way home this afternoon.  I won’t have to call unless we don’t hear back in my preferred medium for anything business related (email, text, Facebook messaging, anything but a business phone call!).  (Carol, this does not mean you and Bill!)

a joyous sight

Salt Pub

After dark, we attended a Salty Talk at Salt Pub.

“Join Jim Sayce, historian and Executive Director of the Pacific County Economic Development Council, in a SALTY Talks presentation, “Reading the Land: Forensic Ecology” exploring the changes in the local landscape over time. Jim will show us how to recognize the subtle clues that can help find the original or historic landscape of a site within the bones of the built environment.”

Allan’s photo

delicious burger with salad subbed for fried (Allan’s photo)

window reflection

night marina

More boats than one used to decorate with lights.  The winter storms and wet weather caused too many electrical problems and so that pretty tradition ended just a few years back. We were happy to see one or two boats still carrying it on.

The Salt holiday tree

The lecture was well attended for one so close to the holidays.

Museum director Betsy Millard introduces the lecture (Allan’s photo)

Jim has a good collection of photos to illustrate how you can see the underlay of history.  For example, a line of trees representing old fence lines (where the trees grew up under the fence and the fence eventually disappeared):

He showed our changing views due to accretion of the beach (in some places half a mile wider than it used to be) and the growth of beach pines, which were not there a century ago.   Many beach trails were begun over 100 years ago and have simply been lengthened by trodding feet as the beach itself moved westward.

Allan captured some of the interesting old photos:

The “elephant rocks” used to be out in the surf, as an old photo showed, and are now well inland of Waikiki Beach.

rocks once out in the surf…

and now on land

An old highway has gone back to nature by the new highway 101.  Through a layer of grass and moss, the yellow line of the old highway occasionally shows through.

Jim Sayce

Jim’s laser pointer was not working.

The old and new photos pleased and fascinated us.

Jim’s blog, circa 2011 and before, is here.

It is now time for five weeks of true staycation.




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Thursday, 16 November 2017, part two

When we returned from work, we just had time before dark to do a garden walkabout.  We had not been into the garden since the recent two days of rain and wind.

standing water where it usually does not collect

three days worth of rain in the big yellow rain gauge

lots of little twigs down

Frosty wanted to follow. (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

the center path of the Bogsy Woods Loop

Allan’s photo

east Bogsy Woods Loop

from the center: the new sit spot

overflowing swale

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo

looking east from the west side

hardy fuchsia

Allan’s photo

future firewood

forlorn hope for a winter campfire

In the house, Allan’s gloves after washing and drying:

We had time for an hour of sitting down (me reading The Grapes of Wrath) before going out to  meet Dave and Melissa (Sea Star Gardening) for dinner at Salt Pub at the port, followed by a Salty Talk.

Allan’s photo

Melissa showed us a photo of one of a couple of trees that had fallen at Sea Star Acres.

photo courtesy Sea Star Gardening

For dinner, Allan and I had “chicken pot pie poutine”, a deconstructed chicken pot pie with fries, gravy, and fried cheese curd.  It was amazing comfort food.

chicken pot pie poutine

and a salad for something healthy

Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum. introduces the season’s first Salty Talk.

Park Ranger Dane Osis and a cauliflower mushroom (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo

Allan’s photo: the deadly amanita on the left

amanita (Allan’s photo)

Allan’s photo of some mushrooms brought in by an audience member.

My lecture notes follow.  Although I have no intention of collecting mushrooms or of eating wild mushrooms that anyone but the most expert person has harvested (and even then I would think twice), I am interested in all plant life.

Salty Talk about wild mushrooms, what I learned:

Mycelium mushrooms are like the apples on an apple tree.  You cannot hurt the main organism by picking them.

Saprophytic mushrooms can be mass produced.  So-called “Wild oyster mushrooms” are most likely produced on a farm.

Mycorrhizal fungi are symbiotic with plants and will transfer moisture from one part of a forest to another.

Knowing your trees will help you to identify mushrooms (based on where the mushrooms like to grow).

The “chicken of the woods” fungi used to rot the hulls of wooden ships.

Ranger Osis says there are fancy mushroom collecting knives with a brush on one end, for brushing off the mushroom to get a closer ID.  He made one by duct taping a brush to a knife.

His favourite mushroom book is All That the Rain Promises and More.  The one with the trombone on the cover.

Cauliflower mushrooms look like a pile of egg noodles.  The one he showed in the lecture, he picked on Monday while elk hunting.  His pick up bed filled with rain water, and yet the mushroom is still good, whereas a chanterelle would have rotted.  He has found one that was 24 pounds.  Another elk hunter found a 55 pound one and thought it was a bedded down elk at first.  If you pick this mushroom, it will grow back the following year.

This strange mushroom can get up to 50 lbs and is delicious, Dane Osis said.

There are more common names for a king bolete than there are languages.  Porcini is just one name.  They are beloved of deer and elk…and can have maggots, as a friend of ours discovered when she brought some home and left them in a bag for a short while.

Jack of Lantern mushrooms, which glow in the dark and can be mistaken for chanterelles, will make you violently ill.

Survivors say the death cap mushroom is the most delicious mushroom they ever ate.  Liver failure will follow in 48 hours.  The deadly death cap is changing hosts from oak to spruce and Douglas fir and can now be more commonly found in the Pacific Northwest (unfortunately).

The effects of amanita mushrooms, which are more toxic here than in Europe, are associated with berserker Vikings, Santa Claus (flying, maybe?), and Lewis Carroll supposedly tripped on amanita before writing Alice in Wonderland.  (Don’t try this.)

Candy cap mushrooms taste like maple syrup and are used in desserts, and will even make your sweat smell like maple syrup.  There is a toxic mushroom that tends to grow with the rare candy cap and looks almost exactly like it.

Since I knew almost nothing of mushrooms before the lecture, I feel that it was successfully jam packed with information.  I look forward to the once a month Salty Talk season which will continue once a month through the winter and into early spring.

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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The work board just underwent a big change.


as it was


as it is now, entering planting time

The cosmos will be planted after Mother’s Day; some of the other plants can go in now.


Smokey attends to my breakfast plate.


Smokey attends to my breakfast plate. (Allan’s photo)


post office garden

Jo’s garden

Fred had delivered Jo’s large purchase this morning and it awaited us.


flats all line up


Jo gave me a beautiful floral quilt, with roses.


Jo and I survey the work to be done.

I have now been working for Jo for 21 years.  When she hired me, she was a year younger than the age I am now.


placing some plants in the northwest bed


supervisor (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo


more plants lined up (Allan’s photo)


all in (Allan’s photo; he always plants this area)

I thought I saw Allan taking photos of our friend Coco, the King Charles Spaniel.  I was mistaken and wish I had taken one myself. Oops.  Coco was especially interested in the squirrel.

I walked around after the four and half hour planting session and took some photos of the results.


looking in the east gate


by the deck


from The Basket Case, already planted


Some of Jo’s favourite snapdragons went in here.  We’ll plant cosmos soon.


middle courtyard


Siberian iris



northwest bed from middle courtyard


northwest bed


west bed


Siberian iris


looking back

We’ll return in a week with lots of cosmos and some more special perennials.

Long Beach

I found out today that the planters in Long Beach that were going to be dug up, now are not, at least not till next fall.  We had time to go to city works, get the last two buckets of our soil from our pile and fill up the one that had been partially dug a couple of months ago. It is a relief that the digging is postponed.

I had an ornamental grass and some euphorbia starts to pop into one of the parking lots berms.  After pleasant weather at Jo’s, an icy cold wind had risen and I was glad we just had a small amount of work left to do today.


corner garden, Veterans Field


a pleasing show of alliums


south parking lot berm with kniphofia from my mom’s old garden



at home

I had a quick walk round the garden.


Eleagnus ‘Quicksilver’


covered in little yellow flowers


with intoxicating fragrance


in Allan’s garden


by the greenhouse, Eccremocarpus scaber came through the winter.


Clematis, mostly blooming on the other side of the fence!


more clematis blooming on Jared and Jessika’s side.


Smokey did not want me to go out again.

However, we had a plan for the early evening.

Salt Hotel Pub


“Learn about the early origins of the United States Coast Guard with Stephen Wood, Interpretive Specialist at Cape Disappointment, Washington State Park, as he presents a Salty Talks presentation, ‘Storm Warriors: the United States Life-Saving Service’. With historical photos and anecdotes, this program will provide a glimpse into the lives of “surfmen” as they served at the Cape Disappointment and Klipsan Beach Life-Saving Stations. This Salty Talks presentation will take place upstairs at the Salt Pub, Tuesday, May 3rd at 6:30pm. The event is free and open to the public. Come early or stay late for a bite and a brew.”


at Salt Hotel Pub (Allan’s photo)


view from our table:  The Coast Guard station, and before that some of the Life Saving Service, is located at the base of that wooded bluff.


Allan’s photo




Betsy Millard, director of Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, announcing upcoming exhibits  (Allan’s photo)


Stephen Wood  (Allan’s photo)

In the opening remarks, Stephen Wood praised Julez and Laila for the amazing job they have done with this old hotel.


and a full house for the fascinating historical talk





Ilwaco Beach is now known as Klipsan Beach.  Fort Canby is now known as Cape Disappointment State Park (but we oldtimers still call it Fort Canby sometimes).




Allan says the semaphore is spelling out the word “Guards”.

We left just at the end, before the questions, because it takes me a long time to go down the stairs backwards.

Tomorrow, cold 30 MPH wind is predicted and it would be mighty tempting to stay home and read.  Surely no plants want to be planted in such miserable weather.


1998 (age 74):

May 3:  I actually did some plant work today.  I started checking my violets after watching 3 basketball games.  I  cut back several plants (now I have about 50 leaves to root).  I repotted 3 trays of violets.  I even worked after the 11:00 news.  I wasn’t sleepy so I potted till 1:00.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Allan’s day


tulips at the Ilwaco Library


foreground, Tulip ‘Flaming Spring Green’


a tulip at Time Enough Books

Salt Hotel

When I first visited to the Peninsula, the state park by Ilwaco was known as Fort Canby.  It is now called Cape Disappointment State Park; locals just call it Cape D.  Sand Island is the big island offshore.  Even when Allan moved here in 2005, I still slipped up sometimes and called it Fort Canby, as do many “oldtimers”.

cape d.png


I have seen on a historic map that Ruby Island may be the site of the first garden (of potatoes) in the Pacific Northwest.


map by Maureen Mulvey

Salty Talk



A good crowd.  I see Rose who brought me some books a few days ago!

Allan took some photos and some notes.



Center Battery cannon didn’t aim left to right.


Look at the darling cottages in the photo below; they were World War II housing for the military.


Ilwaco is over the hill from here.



on Sand Island: False railroad concealed cannon spotting (not water) tower & barracks


Stairs (to nowhere) still exist up to radar mounts



Building on hill up to lighthouse. (old photo shows only half) housed a powerful spotlight



Coast lights, navigation lights were shut off suddenly after Pearl Harbor. A ship was allowed to ground ashore at night rather than signal it and reveal our capabilities to track vessels.


Small house-upper right was a Canby house that was moved to Seaview, then later torn down. A similar one is behind Hill’s Towing in Ocean Park.

I was completely fascinated when Allan came home with the news that some of the little WWII houses were salvaged and moved around the Peninsula including….forming the complex now known as The Anchorage Cottages, one of our gardening jobs!  I asked Our Kathleen, who used to stay at the Anchorage before she bought her own beach cottage, if she knew about that.  Of course she did, as she does seem to know everything about the Peninsula, and she directed me to the Anchorage website where the story is told.  The “Max” Wilson, according to Allan, is, or is related to Skip Wilson who owns the Bay Trader and who built the bookshelves in our house.  An excerpt from The Anchorage Cottage’s site:

The nearby military outpost of Fort Canby (now Cape Disappointment) had been recently decommissioned with the end of World War II, and Max’s vision found fodder with the sale of the outpost’s officers’ barracks offered at $15 per building. As the current proprietor of a moving and hauling business, Max had the necessary equipment to individually load the barracks onto trucks and cart them up the beach to their present location, where he ingeniously coaxed these rustic 1930’s accommodations into “modern” 1950’s gems.

One by one, each of ten units came together to create the Anchorage Motor Court, which was fully completed by the early 1950’s, proudly boasting “Frigidaire equipment, Simmons beds, and a view of Long Beach’s most recent shipwreck.”


Our garden areas are the courtyards within the array of cottages.

Viburnum at Anchorage Cottages

I am ever so pleased to know the history of these darling cottages at The Anchorage.


Museum director Betsy Millar concludes the lecture.

at home

For dinner, after another day of jello and broth while recovering, I was thrilled to have a delicious and perfectly cooked piece of spring salmon caught by our kind neighbour Jeff Norwood (I assume from his red boat called the Salmonator).



The fish went down a treat.

Tomorrow: back to work, ready or not!


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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

The weather was changeable and predicted to worsen through the day.


Even though I had woken up intending to read books all day, I suddenly had in mind two indoor projects.  The first: To photograph my grandma’s wonderful old scrapbooks, one from about 1905-10ish and one from about 1914-1924.  I set about it with a fervent will, feeling pressured by the visit to a neurologist on March 3, which suddenly was looming near, and by the fear of a brain tumor and of losing the ability to do visual projects.  My primary care provider suggested that possibility among many to rule out.  Of course, having had a friend who went blind and later died of a brain tumor, those words stuck hard in my brain.


my supervisory committee


and helper, who was not allowed to walk on the pictures

After I had photographed the albums, including closeups of individual pictures,  a sun break insisted I go outdoors and plant my lilies and two perennials; the wind did not give a break at all.


The Heleniums I bought in a box looks so small, but will probably grow.


Transplanted Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ is leafing out.



back garden, east side


evidence of wind and rain



not a day to go back in the bogsy woods


a pink epimedium from Todd is blooming




a peony from MaryBeth


my Smokey


an array of golden foliage (including a gold leaf fuchsia, and Thalictrum ‘Illuminator’, and Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’


flowering currant

A strong sweet scent let me know that my Azara is in bloom.


Azara microphylla variegata


the flowers smell like chocolate


Allan’s photo


Frosty under the Azara


in the front garden


narcissi and clematis

Back to the project.  Rain and wind cooperated by lashing the house all afternoon so that I did not feel guilty about being inside.

While scanning would be better, I don’t have the right kind of scanner (although now Allan tells me he thinks the iPad app would work well).  A graphics-inclined friend is interesting in scanning some of the images.  Meanwhile, I will be posting the photographed images pretty regularly on my new side blog, The Grandma Scrapbooks.

I got one scrapbook album partially uploaded to the new blog, and then had to tear myself away to attend an event at Salt Hotel.


“Join us for a Salty Talks presentation featuring Nancy Fernandez, a climate change intern with the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park as she delves into the history of plant phenology as seen through the eyes of Lewis and Clark, and gives practical information about Project Budburst. This 6:30pm Salty Talks presentation takes place at the Salt Hotel & Pub in Ilwaco, WA and is free, open to the public. Come early or stay late for a bite and a brew.

Salty Talks are sponsored by the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in partnership with the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, the Lewis & Clark National Park Association, and the Salt Hotel & Pub. The Salt Hotel & Pub is located at 147 Howerton Ave. Ilwaco, WA.”


at Salt Pub (Allan’s photo)


Allan’s photo, Todd, Dave, Melissa, me (and on the table, a branch of my Azara to show off)


Betsy Millard from the museum introduces the speaker (Allan’s photo)


Nancy Fernandez (Allan’s photo)



For example, if a certain flower blooms early, it will be done by the time a butterfly needs it for food or egg laying host.


I learned what phenology is!


Colewort (Skunk Cabbage) is blooming NOW here in 2016.


Look at the difference in when deciduous trees leaf out:


Here is how folks in the USA can help track these changes:



Either help record plants at the Project Budburst website, or participate in the BioBlitz:


Budburst looks easy and I hope to participate.  The website even has a place to upload a photo and get feedback on plant ID.

My lecture notes were sparse, but here they are:

“Observe the face of the country its growth and vegetable production” was part of Lewis and Clark mission

Between Jan 20-Feb 28 1806: They mentioned or described more than three dozen plant species using at least 200 technical botanical terms.

After the lecture, fortified with a Gibson (like a martini but with a cocktail onion), I gregariously showed all my acquaintances how delicious my Azara tree flowers smell. Everyone seemed appreciative, or perhaps polite.


At home, I got right back to uploaded photos, finishing scrapbook number one in time to watch a movie (past midnight, but we knew that tomorrow would be a stormy day off).  Party Girl, while still pleasantly full of the Dewey Decimal system, was not as good as I remembered from 20 years ago.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Plants came from Gossler Farms.



Allan’s photo, mostly witch hazels

Allan unpacked them for me and set them on the porch, as it was too stormy to plant and was obsessed with my scrapbook project.  I felt I had just one more day to finish before the axe of doom visit to the neurologist.


Allan got some photos of the rain in the bogsy woods:










Speaking of phenology, these parrot tulips should bloom in May:



I obsessively uploaded scrapbook photos into future posts on the Grandma’s Scrapbooks blog, working non stop, refusing any interruptions (not very politely), and finishing at 10:30 PM.  That’s about 400 photos  cropped, rotated, fussed over (probably not hard enough) and uploaded in two days.  The second indoor project is to record the interesting photos from my grandma’s old photo albums.  Of course, I also recently transcribed all the garden writings of her daughter, my mother:

Ginger’s Garden Diaries


from my mother’s diaries of two decades ago:

1995: (age 70)

March 1: Nice day but yesterday I pulled a lot of the large leaves off the new bulbs in front tam area [former bed of juniper tams, now a flower bed]. They were all stuck together and matted. I left a few on the bulb area as it is still below freezing at night.  Today I raked those leaves and bagged them for chipping.

1998 (age 73)

March 2: Cool and rainy.  12:30-3:45.  I started cleaning out VBW [can’t decode this! V—? Bed West] but soon got rained in—to the shop.  I got all the new begonias in peat moss and vermiculite into individual pots—13 trays of pots (about half are last year’s bulbs and half new ones).

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